Clay Battelle, Local Sports, Sports

Cee-Bees eye 2nd win as they travel to face Hancock (Md.)

BLACKSVILLE — There’s a little more pride around the Clay-Battelle football program this year. The players are showing their pride not just for the school, but also for the state and country. 

As they run onto the field each Friday night, two leaders for the team are at the head of the pack carrying the flags of the state of West Virginia and the United States of America.

“Running down the field with the flags was a different thing this year and we loved it,” senior fullback Maddox Shriver said. “We love both those flags and it really adds on to the excitement before running down onto the field.”

In CB’s first game of the season, Shriver carried the state of West Virginia flag and senior quarterback JC Spears carried the American flag. Assistant coach and athletic director Charles Krafft came up with the idea. 

And, despite three setbacks to start the 2023 campaign, the Cee-Bees’ pride never wavered. They lost the first three games by a combined nine points but took out their frustration last week by dominating Tygarts Valley, 40-7, for their first win of the season.

A collective sigh of relief was let out around Blacksville. 

“They’ve worked so hard and been so close the three previous games,” head coach Ryan Wilson said. “Watching their excitement finally getting the ‘W’ was fantastic.”

Wilson said the Cee-Bees executed the game plan to near perfection in all phases of the game.

“Defensively, we did a great job shutting down a good offense,” Wilson said. “They didn’t have any pass completions, we limited their yards and we didn’t give up any big plays at all. 

“Offensively, we did a great job blocking on the offensive line. Our running game was following the front lines and running through the blockers so well. We controlled the ball and picked up first downs, so that helped. When we turned to the passing game, we had time and JC made some really nice passes and our receivers had some great catches. It was just an all-around great team effort.”

Momentum is now on the side of Clay-Battelle as it reaches the midpoint of the season. The Cee-Bees recognize there is still so much to play for, including their goal of reaching the playoffs for a third-consecutive year. 

“It really stuck with us being in such close games and coming up just short gives us all the motivation in the world knowing we can always change the season around,” Shriver said. “It was a huge relief to get the ‘L’ off of our foreheads. We definitely wanted to make a statement that we can move the ball and play hard defense, we just needed to fix up some tiny mistakes.

“After a big win like that, we know what we’re capable of and we’re excited to play the second half of the season with our full potential.”

Through four games, Shriver has 41 tackles on defense and has rushed for 250 yards. He’s bulked up in the off-season and has truly adapted to the mentality of a fullback. 

“My biggest strength is definitely my vision when running the ball — I really see the whole field when I run — I always look for the big 30-40 yard gains,” Shriver said, “but if comes down to it and the defense stuffs it, I’m confident in lowering my shoulder and getting three to four yards.”

That toughness will come into play again this week as Clay-Battelle takes a two-hour trip to western Maryland to play Hancock (Md.), a team that’s winless on the year, though Wilson admits the Panthers are much better than their 0-3 record indicates — as are his 1-3 Cee-Bees. 

“They run some different formations and they execute well with their running back getting the ball a lot of the time,” Wilson said. “The quarterback does a good job with the play fake and running the ball. You’re so focused on the running back but we have to make sure we have an eye on what their quarterback can do, too.”

Wilson said Hancock runs a 33-stack defense, a formation his team has not yet seen this year.

Clay-Battelle is certainly up for the challenge and is excited about the experience.

“The kids are fired up to get out there,” Wilson said. “We’ll have a charter bus and will take them out for a team meal. Hancock has a beautiful facility and they’ve been a real pleasure to work with.

“Most importantly, can we go out there and get win number two?”


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